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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Family ministry, part 2- Initial Thoughts

Part 1, here.

"Family Ministry" is the current buzz-phrase in the youth ministry circles that I run in.  Over the past few months, I've seen all sorts of churches looking to hire people, their job titles range from "Youth and Family Pastor" to "Director of Family Ministry".  But, a closer look at the actual job descriptions reveals a different story altogether; at best, it's all about the tweaking of existing programming to be more "family friendly" and at worst, they are simply looking to maintain the status-quo.

A friend of mine, in the midst of the job search process, confirms my observations.  He would ask them about steps taken to merge worship opportunities, he was met with resistance because adults liked being able to drop their kids off so that they could focus during the service.  He would talk about families serving together and those interviewing him would tell him that serving together sounded great, but that was something they were thinking about in the future.  In the end, for many churches, "family ministry" looks like parent handouts, a meeting every so-often, and weekly communication (guilty, guilty, and guilty).  Generally speaking, we don't spend a lot on time thinking about how we might integrate and unite families in ministry.  We don't think about the implications of sending kids to "their own worship" on a Sunday morning.  There are too many questions, the model too untried and ill-defined to dig deeply. 

Last week, I posted an introduction to this current series of posts on family ministry. This requires us to think differently, to think outside our box.  If a church goes to a family-ministry model, and promotes it, that church needs to think in advance about what it might be like for the various people in their midst... the single mom or dad with three kids...the empty-nesters...the unmarried college student or career-person.  In essence, the word "family" will need to be defined within the context of the family of God. 

Love to hear your thoughts:

How would you define "family ministry"?
Do you feel that your church is "family-friendly"?  How?
What are some possible (positive or negative) implications of building a church model around families?

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